After COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the regional partners of the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board, including Belleville, Brighton, Quinte West and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, developed a re-attraction campaign to stimulate recovery. It was deployed via programmatic and digital.
Timely data from Destination Canada showed early on that 1) the preferred method of transportation was personal vehicle and 2) that rural areas were perceived as safer than cities. We worked in collaboration as a regional recovery task force to develop a campaign that would hit on those points, but also highlight our competitive advantages. The following details of the campaign: Take A Drive, Meet Us Here (safely).
- Take A Drive covered the preference for personal vehicle, but also helped establish us as “just a drive away” from the approximate 8+ million people in the GTA, Ottawa and the rest of SE Ontario
- Meet Us Here alluded to the idea of meeting people and going to places – these were things that we all missed doing early in the pandemic when movement was rare.
- We then anchored the tagline to a physical place (Belleville) or an attraction (Pop-Ups on the Bay)
- The addition of “(safely)” was made to show this was still a top priority.
Purpose of Projects
- To drive local travel and spending within the Bay of Quinte region communities of Belleville, Brighton and Quinte West
- To showcase the potential of Bay of Quinte to tourists as drivable, safe destination, with an abundance of safe activities
- We anticipated that we could help contribute to COVID-recover by marketing tourism and activity in our region, but never thought the results would be this strong.
Effectiveness of Meeting Objectives
- Bay of Quinte region has the 3rd highest hotel occupancy in Canada from January-August based on the most recent CBRE hotel data (attached), down only 9% from 2019
- Leisure season Air BnB data for Bay of Quinte communities shows 93% occupancy across 271 properties, with average party size of 6.5, up 11% from 2019
- Combined estimated overnight spending based on the above data for summer 2020, assuming $150pp overnight spend is $32.3 Million in economic activity
- July–September web traffic is up substantially over the same period for 2019 (attached):
- Pageviews + 14% to 100,236 / Users + 20% to 51,225 / New users + 26% to 50,771 / Sessions +12% to 60,334
- Working with 3rd party advertising outlets, we were able to amplify our messaging:
- Over 615,000 impressions / Over 32,300 clicks / CTR above 5%
Challenges & Changes Made
- One of our initial challenges was how to incorporate a safety element into the tagline of Take A Drive, Meet Us Here. After testing the tagline with partners and stakeholders, the concern was that we were inviting visitors without keeping safety top of mind. We didn’t want to change the tagline because we developed it based on the data and info shared in the introduction above. Therefore, we settled on the (safely), which has resonated very well with audiences.
- Another challenge was monitoring the organizations that were either going out of business or operating in a limited capacity. Because the call to action from the creative was to our website and our site featured many of these businesses, we were constantly making changes to web content each week.
Target Audiences: Because of COVID-19, we focused only on geographic target audiences, feeling that we did not want to limit ourselves with respect to age, gender, interests, etc. The priority was driving as much safe activity as possible
- Local residents in Belleville, Brighton and Quinte West East, Ottawa & Kingston (Discovery Guide)
- Immediate surrounding areas of Prince Edward County, Hastings County, Kingston, Cobourg
- The rest of SE Ontario, including GTA East and Ottawa